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Bullskin Twp.: Pritts' request denied

| Thursday, July 31, 2003

William D. Pritts of Bear Rocks Road in Bullskin Township, owner of the property where the Church of Universal Love and Music is located, had a bad day Wednesday.

In the morning, District Justice Robert Breakiron fined Pritts $500 for holding a concert on his property along Bear Rocks Road, which is an agriculturally zoned area, on Oct. 3, 2002, without applying for a special exception requiring a zoning hearing.

In the afternoon, Pritts was denied his request to have the Fayette County Zoning Hearing Board reverse the decision of zoning technician Lloyd Eicher, who issued an enforcement notice on July 16 against Pritts for failing to obtain permits for structures on the property where the Church of Universal Love and Music sits.

According to Eicher, when he viewed the property, he noticed a roof protruding from the existing pavilion or amphitheater that covered a mobile home and no permit had been obtained for its construction.

Eicher also claimed that an accessory building that doubled as a sound booth was constructed with no permit.

The third issue was the mobile home located on the property for which no permit was ever obtained.

According to Pritts' attorney, Thomas Bowlen of Uniontown, they believe the roof protruding from the pavilion is a completion of that structure and, therefore, did not need to get a second building permit.

However, Eicher said the first building permit obtained by Pritts on May 18, 2001, for the pavilion, expired after one year.

As far as the accessory building, Pritts said it was a galvanized steel erector-set type structure that supports a canvas-type canopy.

Bowlen added that because the structure could be taken down, it was not a permanent structure and, therefore, did not believe it fell under the definition of a structure for which a building permit is needed.

Sheryl Heid, attorney for the Fayette County Planning and Zoning office, disagreed with Bowlen, stating that because the structure was bolted into a concrete slab, it did fit the definition of a permanent structure.

Bowlen said the mobile home adjacent to the pavilion does require a permit, but when Pritts applied for one it was rejected because he also did not have a sewage permit.

Jeff Stepanik, secondary sewage enforcement officer for Bullskin Township, testified that Pritts did contact him concerning the sewage permit about three weeks ago.

He added that before Pritts called him, he had already been contacted by Eicher, who told him not to inspect the property because of the ongoing litigation.

Mark Morrison, chairman of the zoning hearing board, made a motion to deny Pritts' request.

"It appears that the canopy does meet the definition of a structure and I feel the notice issued was deserved," said Morrison.

Bowlen said they would pay the $60 fee for the building permits for the roof above the mobile home and for the canopy structure.

He also requested the board give Pritts a reasonable amount of time, without any interruptions, to obtain the necessary permits needed for the mobile home.

According to Heid, a hearing will be set later before District Justice Robert Breakiron, who will set the amount of a fine for Pritts' delinquency in getting permits.

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